Out with the old and in with the new. Obama is old news and we are sick of it. We can’t wait for the media to shut up about how “great” he is. He wasn’t that great. Do you agree?
By Rich Noyes
From the moment then-state senator Barack Obama showed up on the national stage to address the Democratic convention in 2004, the news media were in love. “Obama is a rock star,” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell exclaimed during MSNBC’s live convention coverage back on July 27, 2004. The next morning, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos echoed Mitchell’s enthusiasm: “He’s the Tiger Woods of the Democratic Party right now.”
When Obama ran for President four years later, news reporters led the cheers. “It’s almost hard to remain objective because it’s infectious, the energy, I think,” then-NBC reporter Lee Cowan confessed in an MSNBC.com video posted January 7, 2008. On CNN a few days later, Politico editor John Harris admitted: “A couple years ago, you would send a reporter out with Obama, and it was like they needed to go through detox when they came back — ‘Oh, he’s so impressive, he’s so charismatic,’ and we’re kind of like, ‘Down, boy.’”
As a candidate, the Associated Press celebrated Obama as “something special,” while as President-elect, the Washington Post drooled over his “chiseled pectorals,” on display during a vacation in Hawaii. As President, reporters touted his “prodigious talents,” his “amazing legislative agenda,” and his “huge achievements.” And as an individual, journalists fawned over Obama, calling him “one of our brightest presidents,” a “huge visionary,” “the perfect American,” “our national poet,” and “the most noble man who has ever lived in the White House.”
With the Democratic Party defeated, ObamaCare set for repeal, and incoming President Donald Trump poised to revoke a host of his executive orders, Obama’s actual legacy will likely fall far short of what his media fan club once imagined. But one aspect of his place in history seems secure: Barack Obama has been the lucky recipient of more biased, positive “news” media coverage than any other President in history.
Here are some examples from the past decade, starting with a video montage of the audio and video quotes detailed below:
“Obama seemed the political equivalent of a rainbow — a sudden preternatural event inspiring awe and ecstasy….He transcends the racial divide so effortlessly that it seems reasonable to expect that he can bridge all the other divisions — and answer all the impossible questions — plaguing American public life.”
— Time’s Joe Klein, October 23, 2006 cover story, “Why Barack Obama Could Be the Next President.”
“Many people, afterwards [after Obama’s 2004 convention speech], they weren’t sure how to pronounce your name but they were moved by you. People were crying. You tapped into something. You touched people….If your party says to you, ‘We need you,’ and, and there’s already a drumbeat out there, will you respond?”
— Co-host Meredith Vieira to Obama on NBC’s Today, October 19, 2006.
“You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You’re looking at an American political phenomenon….He inspires the party faithful and many others, like no one else on the scene today….And the question you can sense on everyone’s mind, as they listen so intently to him, is he the one? Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?…Everywhere he goes, people want him to run for President, especially in Iowa, cradle of presidential contenders. Around here, they’re even naming babies after him.”
— Co-anchor Terry Moran on ABC’s Nightline, November 6, 2006.
Co-anchor Chris Matthews: “I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama’s speech. My — I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often.”
Co-anchor Keith Olbermann: “Steady.”
Matthews: “No, seriously. It’s a dramatic event. He speaks about America in a way that has nothing to do with politics. It has to do with the feeling we have about our country. And that is an objective assessment.”
— Exchange during MSNBC’s coverage of the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. primaries, February 12, 2008.
“On the bus ride along the snowy road to Lebanon, New Hampshire, I showed him this week’s Newsweek, hot off the presses. [to Obama] How does this feel, of all the honors that have come your way, all the publicity?…Who does it make you think of? Is there, is there a loved one?”
— NBC’s Brian Williams on the January 7, 2008 Nightly News.
“Presidential campaigns have destroyed many bright and capable politicians. But there’s ample evidence that Obama is something special, a man who makes difficult tasks look easy, who seems to touch millions of diverse people with a message of hope that somehow doesn’t sound Pollyannaish.”
— AP writer Charles Babington in a May 10, 2008 dispatch.
“Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope….Barack Hussein Obama did not win because of the color of his skin. Nor did he win in spite of it. He won because at a very dangerous moment in the life of a still young country, more people than have ever spoken before came together to try to save it. And that was a victory all its own.”
— Time’s Nancy Gibbs in the November 17, 2008 post-election cover story.